Recently the Russia’s National Settlement Depository (NDS), an organization that provides settlement and depository services, began testing blockchain technology as a potential solution for a corporate e-proxy voting system. The results will not shock you but the origin of praise for the system just might.

NDS began looking into solutions for e-proxy voting in August of 2014. The prototype they recently tested is based on the NXT platform. The system also adheres to the ISO 20022 standard for messaging. NDS worked with the UK based DSX Technologies to develop the e-proxy voting system.  The recent testing was conducted during a bondholder meeting.

With this e-proxy voting system, cascade messaging is enabled through a chain of nominee accounts. This chain is from the issuer to the voter and then back. In this configuration, NSD manages the database for the chain in order to ultimately oversee that all voting protocol was followed during the process. All of the information that is on the blockchain is then encrypted and able to be viewed by participants. The digital signatures embedded in the blockchain provide verification that the voting is within the time constraints allotted, all votes are accounted for, and that the process is transparent.

Chairman of the Executive Board for NSD, Eddie Astanin was excited about the success of the testing stating that Russia is in a great position to advance this type of technology because “Russian specialists are among the most experienced in the global FinTech industry.”

Regarding NSD’s interest and vision for blockchain, Sergey Putyatinskiy, IT Director at NSD, states,”After our work group analyzed the use of blockchain in several areas of NSD activities, we opted for the automation of the voting process at the annual securities holders meetings. Over the period of four months, we managed to develop a working prototype of the blockchain-based e-proxy voting system that has no analogues in the world.

During the testing process, we reached a submission speed of 80 voting instructions per second. We are currently aiming to increase the system’s capacity and to enable the support of new voting types. Our next step would be to subject our new prototype to legal and cryptographic expert evaluation, which will give us a more definite idea whether the prototype is suited for real voting.

No doubt that e-proxy voting may very well be of use to corporations worldwide. The interesting component of this is just how conflicted Russia seems to be over blockchain technology and its vast universe of applicability. They are unsure, yet they are interested. This is such a great anecdote for blockchain technology. The knee-jerk reaction has historically been to marginalize. The ubiquity of the technology asks for another glance…and even Russia will give it that.